GPS Enabled Inhalers About to Hit the Market?

It’s a little friend asthmatics know all too well: the faithful, tiny, inhaler. Sometimes quite literally a life saver, most asthma sufferers have one and go through three or four a year. Now, in addition to allowing them to breathe, a scientist wants to use them to figure out why we get asthma in the first place.

How? With GPS units on inhalers!

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. The inhalers, which would also have a WiFi unit, would record location and time of use every time they were used, and send the information to a central server.

For the patient, it helps them and their doctor figure out what the patient might be doing to aggravate their asthma, or certain times and locations that might trigger an attack.

For the epidemiologists, it gives them a more detailed look at what parts of the country have the most asthma attacks, at what times, and in what conditions. Basically, they could get a better handle on what triggers attacks and how to fight it off.

There’s a lot of potential here to get insight into what triggers asthma and why. Of course, you still have to convince the people buying inhalers to shell out for what amounts to a bottle of steroids with an antenna on it, but one step at a time.

Vacuum Tube Chess Set Makes Tesla Proud

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Vacuum Tubes may have been a cornerstone in developing electronics, but for our purposes here, they make a sweet chess board. The “Chess Set For Tesla,” by Paul Fryer, uses 32 vacuum tubes and 64 plugs to ensure that those pieces don’t tip over during play. And of course, they light up, sohwing the type of piece on top. As some Dvice commenters noted, this is probably an impractical board, as the tubes would likely get too hot to handle unless you’re playing in the northern reaches of Russia. That doesn’t make it any less awesome from afar. [Make Blog via Dvice]

On-Time Clock Always Runs Fast

Finally, confirmation that other people set clocks ahead to avoid running late. The trick is to fool yourself into perpetual confusion, never quite knowing what time it really is. Fabrica’s Tak Cheung has designed a clock whose minute hand is always bent forward by a few minutes. One problem though: surf to On-Time’s product page and you’ll learn right away that the clock runs exactly three minutes fast, ruining the mystery. But what happens if you set this clock ahead by an additional amount? Total chaos, followed by a tear in the fabric of the space-time continuum. Maybe that’s why there’s no word on pricing or availability. [Fabrica via The Awesomer]

The H20 Concept Filter Recycles Urine for Drinking

The H20 Concept Filter Recycles Urine for Drinking

“You can’t pee into a Mr. Coffee and get Taster’s Choice,” Dana Carvey once said in a Ross Perot accent, referring to that famous drink-your-own scene in Waterworld. Actually, though, he’s wrong. The H20 concept filter uses Activated Carbon to remove the color and taste of the urine, and a tiny membrane filters out viruses and bacteria. Clean water is squeezed from a spilling spout at the bottom of the device. Simple as that, although cooling mechanism would be welcome considering the warmth of your own bodily fluids. Keep in mind, though, that urine is already sterile, so if you’re really in a jam, there’s always  the Bear Grylls method. [Yanko Design via Dvice]

Nintendo DS, iPhones Play in Gadget Orchestra

With the help of a Belkin Rockstar multi headphone splitter, one intrepid DJ has created a tapestry of digital sounds using a Nintendo DS Lite running Electroplankon, a DSi running Korg DS-10, an iPhone, an iPod Touch and a Kaossilator. The result is, well, meh. But think of the possibilities. I’d love to see what a talented chiptune artist like Nullsleep could do with an elaborate setup of Game Boys, and even an average listener might have fun mixing in and out of different iPods at a party. At $20 for the splitter, it certainly beats splurging on an expensive mixer. [via YouTube]

Visualizing Flickr: Web 2.0 as “The World’s Eyes”

When uploading to Flickr, users set tags, locations and other data– upon which an enterprising group of MIT researchers have built a project called “The World’s Eyes”. Now exhibited in the Design Museum in Barcelona, “Los Ojos Del Mundo” tracks photographers both local and tourist throughout their photographic adventures in Spain. As described by MIT’s SENSEable City Lab:

When posting photos online, users of the photo sharing platform Flickr transmit to the world their perspective of a place or event through the lens of a digital camera. Each digital photo file codes both the time when that photo was taken and the location it captures. Analyzing this information allows us to follow the trail that each Flickr photographer travels through Spain. (Un)photographed Spain maps thousands of these public, digital footprints over one year. As photos overlap in certain locations, they expose the places that attract the photographer’s gaze . In contrast, the absence of images in other locations reveal the unphotographed spaces of a more introverted Spain.

The result is a visually stunning display of the collective photographers’ view of Spain. Where and when do these photographs take place? What objects and locations are the most photogenic? We salute the work of MIT’s SENSEable CITY, as the art captured by Flickr photographers has been visualized into collective art from 30,000 feet. [MIT via datavisualization.ch]

French Police Save Millions With Ubuntu, OpenOffice

french police car ubuntu

Solving budget crises at the local level may not be so complicated after all, if the French Gendarmerie Nationale police force is any indication. By switching to open source software, such as the Ubuntu operating system and OpenOffice instead of Windows and Microsoft Office, the force has saved roughly €50 million since 2004. The best quote comes from Lt. Colonel Xavier Guimard: “Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users,” he said. “Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority.” But what about those sweet, sweet icons? No matter, the department says its budget dropped by 70 percent by switching to open source, and it’s obviously an approach they’d like to continue in the future. The entire organization should be running on Linux by 2015. My editor, an open source junkie, is probably ecstatic. [via Ars Technica]

Vacuum Tube Chess Set Makes Tesla Proud

Vacuum Tubes may have been a cornerstone in developing electronics, but for our purposes here, they make a sweet chess board. The “Chess Set For Tesla,” by Paul Fryer, uses 32 vacuum tubes and 64 plugs to ensure that those pieces don’t tip over during play. And of course, they light up, sohwing the type of piece on top. As some Dvice commenters noted, this is probably an impractical board, as the tubes would likely get too hot to handle unless you’re playing in the northern reaches of Russia. That doesn’t make it any less awesome from afar. [Make Blog via Dvice]

World’s Brightest Single LED Flashlight

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742 Lumens– that’s what you’ll be cutting through the shroud of night with when you’re using a Neofab Legion II.  While that number may not mean a lot to the layman, we can sum it up in one statement: this is the world’s brightest single LED flashlight. In addition to sheer brightness, the Legion II features single-finger switching for both on/off and multi-level dimming and new 4-layer PCB circuit board. Details like teflon bearings in the control ring keep this flashlight operating velvet-smooth. The Legion II was produced in a very limited first batch of 30. While the $295 might seem steep,  this is sure to be the coolest flashlight at the campsite. A less expensive, more mass produced aluminum version is also available for $179. The flashlight operates on 3 18650 lithium ion cells. [CPF Marketplace]

SmartSwitch Makes Wasting Energy More Difficult

Wasted energy is bad for your wallet, bad for the environment and bad for our future. And yet, it’s just so easy to switch a light on, forget all about it, walk to the next room, switch that light on, turn on the TV, walk to the kitchen to make a snack, leave another light on, and so on. Before you know it you have 4 lights chowing down those kilowatt hours and you’re not actually using any of them.

What if it were a little more difficult to waste energy? Maybe you’d actually shut one light off before turning the next one on? That’s the simple logic behind the SmartSwitch, designed by Peter Russo and Brendan Wypich of Stanford University. The switch is literally harder to flip when power consumption is high, giving a quick tactile reminder to shut off some lights and appliances. When household consumption is low, it flips like a regular light switch. The switch can even be custom configured to reflect your own consumption goals. Simple, innovative solution to a widespread problem. I’d imagine this could pay for itself in no time at all.   [Slash Gear via Slippery Brick]